06 January 2008

Webtrends 2008

Borrowed librally from WebProNews and embellished

As rough as webmasters thought they had it with Google over paid links in 2007, we think Google will play rougher in 2008. Their approved acquisition of DoubleClick in the US needs only similar approval from the European Union to be completed.

When that happens, and we think it will, imagine Google making the same PageRank adjustments to sites that display graphical ads to what they deem as low-quality destinations. Webmasters will long for the days when it was just text links getting this treatment.

Here is something we think won't happen - Yahoo isn't going anywhere. Not to Microsoft. Not to Google. Not to Martin Sorrell and WPP, or anyone else. Being second in search market share and having a display ad business that can bring brand names to its pages may not be sexy, but it brings revenue to Yahoo.

Another thing we won't see - Powerset launching to the public. The natural language search engine lost its CEO in November 2007. Though they offered us a peek at the site months ago, Powerset never followed through. Natural language search is hard, kids. Lots of favorable press hype can't counter that. Enough of the won'ts.

We think we will see the first efforts of disenchanted Hollywood writers show up on the Internet as they turn to creating content they control, instead of a studio.

But don't expect a two and a half hour summer blockbusters showing up on the web. We think a short series of 7 to 8 minute episodes with a name star participating, and sufficient financial backing to deliver high-quality production of the shows, could lead to someone becoming the first Tony Gilroy of the Internet.

We also expect Microsoft to reorg its Net brands again and shuffle people up, down, in, and out of MSN and Windows Live. MS always does this - usually in April. The company is stuck with two brands to promote. It makes more sense for Microsoft to promote Windows Live than MSN as a name, so we think the transition to one distinct identity should happen in 2008.

Though it's popular now, Facebook gets its comeuppance in 2008. Someone somewhere will adopt Facebook's old model of requiring .edu email addresses for membership in a social networking site, build up some buzz, and start grabbing members before they get to Facebook. The open platform snafu will really piss off College kids.

Similarly Linked-in and Plaxo however will become more popular for adults. Other wannabe sites like Jigsaw and Xing will also rise.

We predict that Second Life will be a footnote for gamers not mainstream and Advertisers will walk elsewhere.

Finally we (T2) predict that some order will come to content creation in the form of an independent classification which will create a metric. Thus making random UGC less common. We also predict that the UGC will peak probably in 2009 and turn to a steady state rather than being the ascendant and babe of the hour it is now.

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